Sylvia Anderson


Date of Birth: 27 March 1927, Camberwell, London, UK
Birth Name: Sylvia Beatrice Thomas
Nicknames: Sylvia Anderson

Sylvia Anderson, best known as the voice of Lady Penelope in the TV show Thunderbirds.
Anderson co-created the hit science-fiction puppet series, which ran from 1965, with her late husband Gerry.
In a career spanning five decades, she also worked on shows Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet, and for US TV network HBO.
She died at her Buckinghamshire home. Her daughter said she was "a mother and a legend", who would be sadly missed.
"Her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way," Dee Anderson said.
Her former husband Gerry Anderson died in 2012 after suffering from Alzheimer's.
Born in south London to a boxing promoter and a dressmaker, Sylvia Anderson graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in sociology and political science.
She spent several years in the US and worked as a journalist before returning to the UK and joining a TV production company, where she met her future husband.
When he started his own company, AP Films, she joined him, and the couple began making puppet shows.


They developed a production technique using electronic marionette puppets, called Supermarionation, in which the voices were recorded first, and when the puppets were filmed, the electric signal from the taped dialogue was hooked up to sensors in the puppets' heads.
That made the puppets' lips move perfectly in time with the soundtrack.
In 1963, the couple came up with the idea for Thunderbirds, which told the story of the Tracy family who form a secret organisation dedicated to saving human life, set in the future.
As well as co-creating and writing the series, Anderson worked on character development and costume design.


The character of Lady Penelope, a glamorous agent, was modelled on Anderson's own appearance, and she also provided her characteristic aristocratic voice.
The success of Thunderbirds led to two feature films and a toy and merchandise empire.
Three new programmes were made last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the series.


Other shows which the couple worked on include Stingray, Fireball XL5 and Secret Service.
However, the partnership ended when they divorced in 1981.
Sylvia went on to work as head of programming for HBO in the UK, and write several books.
Her last public interview was on the Graham Norton Show on BBC Radio 2 with actor David Graham, who also provided voices for Thunderbirds, in December.